Knut Interview

KNUT INTERVIEW

1) Who are Knut? Could you give a quick band history please?

roderic: we started knut in 1994 in geneva, switzerland. some of us already knew each other or had been involved in other musical projects. but only this one would lead us to unexpectedly new and fertile territories. the band lost its founder bass player last year and now consists of didier (voice), philippe (guitars), jeremy (bass) & me (drums). we recorded two home-made 7" that are now long out of print. in early 97 we released our first CD titled "leftovers" on snuff records, a label we had just started out in order to release some local noise. it felt great to hold that first CD in our hands. then "bastardiser" came out in 98 and it was a drastic improvement for us, musically and recordingwise. at that time our former bass player, who was a sound engineer too, used to record all of our material. but this time he did it in a real professional studio and I guess it made a difference. however, we were still striving for a sound closer to our live one. we were leaning towards a less polished, more brutal and rawer sound. it started to show on the split 7" we shared with french noise band tantrum, and then on our latest recording (the ordeal 7"). I guess it had a lot to do with the experience of touring and also with the music we got exposed to more and more, like all that chaotic stuff.

2) how do you pronounce knut? what does knut mean?

since no one seems to know about the fucking knut (a russian whip), i guess i'll have to go through this once again: pronounce it like brute.

3) what are your influences? on the website entombed and celtic frost are mentioned. do you all have a love of metal?

on the website it was more a way to make fun of people and especially americans who often confuse switzerland with sweden. but yeah all we love metal, to various dergrees though. as far as me it seems like i've always been attracted to the heavier side if music, even back when i was into prog. i got into bands like rush and later in school my heavy metal friends made me listen to crossover, thrash and death metal and i also got into hardcore, punk and industrial.

4) what do you do outside the band? could you ever see yourselves doing knut/snuff records fulltime?

i'd like to state that these answers only reflect my personal opinion. no, i don't see us doing the band full time cause although it pretty much takes all the free time we have beside our jobs, living off it would mean playing music that appeals to a lot larger bunch of people (which i don't imagine us doing with this band). or it would mean touring all the time like some bands do, living on the road and not having a place of our own to live and well, i doubt that's the kind of life any of us wants to have. so we all have jobs, some temporary, some more stable. for example our guitar player works as ground crew at the international airport and i work at a small independant newspaper in geneva which is something i enjoy doing cause it's radical left-wing orientated and totally ad-free. i'm actually involved in the cultural section where i mostly write about music. i get plenty of fre promos from the majors ha ha!

5) have you heard of the british band snuff? do you agree that they're the best band ever? is snuff records a tribute to them like snuffy smiles records from japan?

sorry, i doubt anyone of us has ever heard them, although i know them by name and reputation.

6) what's the scene like in switzerland? what bands, zines are worth mentioning?

as you may know switzerland has got three different linguistic areas and hence is divided into scenes that are hardly interacting, which is a shame i guess. we sometimes play in the german-speaking part but so far people there seem to be have been more into the typical old-school/punk or instead the typical brutal kinds of hc, whereas our area and geneva in particular produce more metallic and chaotic sounds. i remember our show with converge in the german-speaking part being attended by only 30 people, whereas the one we set up in geneva attracted over 250 kids. over here where we live the scene seems less divided into smaller, specific ones i think. i know a lot of people who will listen to metal, punk, stoner rock, pop, post-rock, electro and whatever at the same time.

7) i believe the bastardiser album is 3 years old now. is it frustrating for you that bastardiser is still seen as a new record even though it it quite old? are you going to be doing a new album anytime soon?

it's true, bastardiser is a pretty dated album since most of the songs were written four years ago and the recording was done in the summer of 97. but for some reason there are still people who enjoy it or even discover it these days, like when gregor from chrome saintmagnus records did the vinyl version last year and now hydra head for the american pressing. so i tend to see it all as rewarding instead of frustrating that anyone still be into giving our older material a greater exposure. and i think bastardiser is a good record. hydra head also wants to release more recent material shortly after that one. but besides, of course we're working on a new one which we hope to be able to record sometimes early 2001.

8) how did you hook up with hydra head? are you excited about it?

it started when gregor asked jake from converge to redisign the cover of bastardiser for the vinyl. then we met the converge guys when we played several shows with them on their european tour. we got along well and they liked our music so when they got back home they gave some of our stuff to aaron and mark and...the rest is history! thank you nate! that motherfucker kept telling us that aaron was really into doing us on his label so one day we decided to contact him and as we opened our mailbox to send him a message, we saw that we just had gotten one from him. that was the beginning.

9) how was the european tour? where did you go? any good tour stories? any chance of seeing you in the uk?

we played mostly in germany, where it seems easier to book hardcore shows. on the other hand the kids seem a bit more jaded too and maybe not a lot into metal but more into emo and all that post-swing kids stuff. but then again it moves fast so you never know what the next trend will be. however, we had some good times, especially playing all these shows with creation i crucifixion. awesome live show, great people. we also went to spain, france, belgium and the netherlands for a few shows and festivals. we met a loot of very cool people, especially all the kids who set up the shows and let us crash at their homes. tour stories? in germany we played some weird places. like that disaffected restaurant in the woods, where the Offspring had played years back when they were just a small punk band. we started to play and after maybe 15 minutes the cops came and stopped the show. or take that place in bremen where we also played which is where the nazis used to park the jews before sending them to the camps, and is now a cultural place where all the people go to have a beer or watch a theater play. pretty insane. or this city in east-germany, magdeburg, which is like the capital of nazis and skinheads and the squat we stayed was packed with punks who had scars across their faces and pick necks (??) beside their beds. holy shit, that was scary. the creation dudes certainly remember this too!

10) what do you see as being the reason why a lot of bands don't come to the uk when they tour europe? how is the uk viewed from the outside world?

"the outside world". here's the answer to your question. the uk is kinda viewed as this island that doesn't wanna be part of the whole and which sometimes feels more like one of the states of america, who knows? seriously, i hardly hear a lot about the uk scene for a start (although it tends to change a little bit) and also there's all the things you keep hearing about touring the uk you know, like it's a squat scene mostly and you harldy get paid and it's so hard to book shows over there so i guess that most of european bands just won't try. but then i also heard about bands making good tours there so i wouldn't mind coming sometimes.

11) do you have any particular political view?

on a personal level yes. i'm a conscious objector and i'm involved in an anti-militarist movement that supports the abolition of the army in switzerland. you'd have to ask the other members of the band but what i can safely say is that we've never imagined having any kind of political agenda with knut. music and politics work better when they're not mixed together, unless you're rage against the machine or have the skill of a jello biafra!

12) this issue is the "political correctness" special. what is political correctness? what do you think about it? is it good or bad?

i'm not sure what you mean by political correctness but it doesn't sound to me as a notion that helps to spread truth and honesty about issues. i mean, there has to be a line you can walk where you can be involved or at least aware and at the same time be able to joke about things and take life with a grain of salt. you know, as a matter of fact gays call themselves fags (or even "worse") and blind people, they don't like it when you're trying to avoid the words that relate to the eyes, the sight and so on. so what i think is if society wants to totally avoid differences and even conflicts in fact it is hardly going to really accept difference. to me political correctness is a product of the market economy, where the medias always have to be smooth about everthing in order to not frighten their advertisers. simply put, political correctness is not correctness. now if you can give me a better insight into what you call political correctness, please do so!

13) what does the future hold for knut and snuff records?

we're currently writing new stuff for a future album on hydra head records. in the meantime bastardiser is coming out these days (november) and i'm curious about the people's reaction to it, although it's already old. the as i told you hh wants to put out newer stuff from various 7" as a mcd sometimes next spring, due before our probable summer tour in the us together with the almighty isis. as for snuff, after considering a little break we may have the opportunity to work with some great people so we'll see, i can't really say much more right now. our latest release is the first brazen mcd and you should check it out if you want some real heavy, progressive and emotional rock. brazen is one of the best bands to come out of switzerland.

14) Anything else to add?

thanks a lot for the interview and we hope to come to uk someday. contact:
KNUT c/o Snuff Records, PO Box 5117, CH-1211 Geneva 11
phone/fax: +41 22 781 31 03.
unknut@hotmail.com
http://www.hydrahead.com/knut


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